Friday, April 29, 2016

Admired and Feared


Joan. Saturday night.

I was sort of listening to Selected Shorts when a female voice began reading Goodbye to All That and, how does one describe the spell Joan Didion casts with her words? She is sharp, wry, and brutally honest. She cuts straight through to my heart, exposes those savage feelings I've felt and never told anyone about, and leaves a lump in my throat.

She's one of those brave unrelenting women, the type people admire and fear. You can see it in her eyes. You can hear it in her voice. I saw her live in conversation with Vendela Vida in 2011. She was 77 years old, small, but not at all frail. She was sharp, impatient, and curt.

I always feel the need to prepare myself before I read her work, but I was caught off guard this Saturday night, at home alone, husband out of town, possibly too much space for rumination. And maybe this is the best way to experience Joan Didionwithout armor.

She left that lump in my throat. She forced me to think realistically about my future, and she reminded me how fleeting each phase of my life has been. 

Nothing stays. Take nothing for granted.